NASCAR on Thursday released an image of the noose found in driver Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega Speedway. A crewmember on Wallace’s racing team spotted the noose over the weekend and reported it to NASCAR, but an FBI investigation found that the rope had been in the garage since 2019.
NASCAR completed its own investigation into the incident Thursday, finding that across 1,684 garage stalls, 11 had a pull-down rope tied in a knot, and one tied in a noose — the No. 43 garage that Wallace used this week.
“Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. We’re living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a statement.
Wallace, in an interview with CBS News this week, said it was a relief that he was not targeted but doubted the conclusion that the rope was part of a “garage pull.” He also vehemently denied the notion that the noose was staged. “They want to turn it into a hoax when I was just – rational thoughts off the factual information that I was given,” he said.
NASCAR’s president on Thursday also pushed back at the idea of a hoax. “Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this,” Phelps said. “Bubba Wallace has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity.”
Wallace on Wednesday credited his “strong support system” of his mother, sister, father and girlfriend for helping him get through recent weeks, and said the display of support he received from his fellow drivers was “emotional.”
“Definitely a moment that will stand out for me for forever,” he said. “Knowing that, you know, we have that family support – that’s how NASCAR is. It was good to see, and I definitely appreciate that.”